The £17,500 home office premium

  • Properties for sale with a home office command a premium of £17,500
  • Estate agents recommend prospective buyers list outbuildings and sheds as ‘office potential’ to maximise value – but never convert a bedroom or risk losing value
  • 7.3 million workers have created dedicated home workspace - transforming even cupboards and wardrobes

A home office in a dedicated room adds £17,500 to the value of a property, reveals new research1 from Direct Line Home Insurance. Analysis of property listings across the UK found the average price of a home with an office is £456,500, four per cent higher than equivalent properties in the area (£439,000).  Approximately three quarters (73 per cent) of estate agents2 say a dedicated home office now adds considerably to the desirability of a property.

Studies and dedicated office rooms account for many listings (35 per cent), while sellers are also identifying external studios (29 per cent), converted lofts (nine per cent) and even landings or mezzanines (six per cent) as “home office space”.

Research amongst estate agents reveals 81 per cent believe outbuildings and sheds have the greatest potential to be converted into offices, boosting prices ‘considerably’, due to new working styles caused by the pandemic.  An estate agent located in central Bristol highlighted a recent three bed listing had an outside office “and it pushed the price considerably."  Estate agents also regularly recommend clients consider marketing large landings (12 per cent) and garages (eight per cent) as ripe for office conversion when putting their home on the market.  

However, estate agents caution owners not to convert bedrooms into home office space, saying it can negatively impact the listing price for a property.  As an estate agent operating in the Birmingham area commented “don’t ever lose the space of converting a bedroom or box room” to an office. 

Covid-19 has driven 18.8 million people3 to work from home, with 9.6 million (29 per cent) doing so for the first time. These workers had to suddenly adapt their homes to suit their new lifestyle, with many struggling to find a dedicated working space. Just one in 10 of those working from home are lucky enough to already have a dedicated pre-existing workspace at home. For the majority, work has meant setting up a desk, table or even ironing board in their living room (19 per cent), a spare bedroom (19 per cent), their own bedroom (16 per cent), dining room (10 per cent) or the kitchen (nine per cent).

Overall, nearly two thirds (61 per cent) of home workers have set up their office in a shared or social space like a living or dining room. This blurring of work and home life is especially likely to affect young people, with 64 per cent of 18-34-year olds not having a suitable divide. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of younger workers barely move from their beds, having set up shop in their bedrooms.

Given that one in seven home workers (14 per cent), some 2.3 million people, expect never to return to the office after lockdown has ended and 9.3 million believe they will work from home at least some of time, it is unsurprising that many are now looking at how their home can suit this new lifestyle long term.

Nearly two fifths (39 per cent) of workers, some 7.3 million people, have already converted an existing space in their homes into an office during lockdown, with a similar number planning to make these changes in the next 12 months (38 per cent). The most popular option has been to convert an existing room (19 per cent), but garages (nine per cent), cupboards or wardrobes (nine per cent) and even lofts or basements (seven per cent) have also provided that much needed working space. One in 12 (eight per cent) plan to extend their property to allow for office space in the next 12 months.

Table one: Rooms in the home used for office space for home working

Home office plans

Percentage of workers who have done this since lockdown

Percentage of workers who plan to do this in the next 12 months

Convert an existing room e.g. dining room



Convert a garage



Convert a cupboard or closet



Convert a loft or basement space



Convert shed or outbuilding



Build a shed or outbuilding



Build a conservatory



Extend the property to allow for office space






Source: Direct Line Home Insurance 2020

Dan Simson, Head of Direct Line Home Insurance, said: “Home working is likely to be in place for millions of people for a long time to come because of the pandemic. While lockdown is easing, many employers are already encouraging their workforce to work flexibly long term, to reduce numbers in the office for social distancing measures and to save on office costs.

“As their home office is likely to become a permanent fixture in their lives, it’s understandable many people are now starting to think about the changes and improvements they could make to their property to make home working more comfortable. As our research shows, not only does a dedicated office help a separation between work and home, it can also add significant value to a property. Anyone considering building work just needs to remember to inform their insurer before the work is carried out and update them on any additional rooms created so they have the correct level of cover.”

Direct Line Home Insurance includes cover as standard for our customers working from home, protecting laptops and other equipment if it is the property of the policyholder.  Replacement items, if available, can be ready to send within just two hours of a claim being made. For further information and full terms and conditions please visit Property loaned by the employer is usually covered by their business insurance policy.


Notes to Editors

1         Analysis of property listings across 10 UK cities carried out in July 2020. Property searches were carried out on for any listing specifying a “home office”. Any listings where the office replaced a bedroom were discounted. Square metreage and average price was compared against average property listing prices for the local area broken down by property type and bedroom count.

2         Telephone research conducted among 100 estate agents across the UK in July 2020.

3         Research conducted by Opinium among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults between 30th June – 3rd July 2020.

For further information please contact:

Claire Jarrett
PR manager (Home & Pet)

Direct Line Group

Tel: 01651 832 411

Email: [email protected]

Samantha Stewart

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

[email protected]

0207 025 6497

Direct Line

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